The Future of Ergonomic Office Equipment: How the Industry is Changing and Projections for the Next Five Years

Kenneth Nielsen, CEO of Contour Design
Kenneth Nielsen, CEO of Contour Design

Kenneth Nielsen, CEO of Contour Design, provides an insider’s perspective on how the industry is changing and makes projections for the next five years. He explains that workplace ergonomics has become increasingly important as more jobs involve sitting at a desk for extended periods. While ergonomic products were once seen as a luxury, Nielsen explains that they are now a necessity for employers wanting to keep their workforce healthy and productive.

 


 

Workplace ergonomics as I define it, is simply put, functionality and comfortoptimized for how one does their job. How comfortable employees are during their workday is extremely important, especially when they are sitting or doing repetitive motions throughout the day. This becomes even more important for employees who experience this over many days, weeks or even years.

Workplace ergonomics is a fairly recent concept. You do not have to go that far back in history to see when a sizeable portion of the workforce shifted to an environment where sitting behind a desk and in front of a screen for many hours of the day became the norm.As a result, an increasing number of people began having issues related to poor posture or lack of movement.

Today, ergonomic office equipment continues to become more mainstream, as there is a growing awareness among employers and employees of the health consequences workers face while spending a significant portion of their day at the computer. This means that now, products in the ergonomic market have a general relevance, whereas in the past they were viewed as a luxury, only needed by those in pain or who are susceptible to injury. As it stands, Scandinavia is the world leader in ergonomic investment, however a growing number of countries are taking a proactive approach to employees’ workplace health and wellness.

This growth may be a result of, in part, the post-COVID era, where the hybrid work model is increasing in popularity, and therefore many employees do not have fixed desks. Instead, desktop computers are being replaced with laptops, allowing employees to travel from home to the office and to other remote workplaces. This ultimately requires that products take up less space and work-desk real estate, and that at home and on-the-go equipment should offer ergonomic solutions.

Working from home is where employees will likely face the worst ergonomic situations. A number of factors contribute to this, including less than ideal desk height, a desk that does not enable users to sit or stand while working, or worst-case scenario, a workspace that does not include a desk, such as a living room sofa. These situations cause people to sit incorrectly. Furthermore, because most work-from-home employees use a laptop computer instead of a desktop computer, they are often in a position that makes it nearly impossible to attain proper neck and back positioning. From an ergonomic perspective, it is the worst workspace setup to avoid strain. Ideally, employees would have an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.

That being said, Contour Design supports this growing trend, and we aim to fuel it further by designing iconic ergonomic products with aesthetic design top of mind. Ergonomic design is the optimization of how humans interact with an object, like an office chair or keyboard, creating it in a format most suited for the human body. When ergonomic design is lacking, forcing an employee to sit in a position that is unnatural to the human body, muscles become overstretched, overused and unbalanced, eventually causing pain and health issues.On the contrary, when ergonomic design is taken into consideration by employers, those issues are mitigated, among other benefits.

Aside from the health benefits for employees, employers who incorporate ergonomics in the workplace see increased productivity. For example, employees can spend up to an hour a day just reaching for their mouse in a non-ergonomic set up. An independent study conducted by Contour Design found that ergonomic computer accessories, such as the RollerMouse Red, can lead to up to a 19 percent increase in productivity.

Not only can an ergonomic computer mouse help increase your employees’ productivity, but it can also provide them with additional benefits including increased workflow synergy between keyboard and mouse (which promotes increased usage of keyboard shortcuts), and programmable shortcut buttons(allowing employees to make their most used shortcuts available at their fingertips). With a significant reduction of motion and an ergonomic design, employees will be able to accomplish more and will experience increased comfort and reduced fatigue, ensuring they are at the top of their game all day, every day.

Outside of workplace ergonomics, a secondary megatrend that correlates with the industry is sustainability. Consumers are increasingly focused on products that are developed with CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in mind. Contour Design is leading the charge in this initiative, and it shows in our latest products. All of our hard plastic is made of post-consumer reusable plastic (PCR) components, with a goal of significantly reducing our company’s carbon footprint.

Overall, I predict that over the next five years, the ergonomic industry will continue to grow, and ergonomic products will become more widely accepted, as workplace health and wellness is a growing consideration among human resource professionals, business owners and IT departments. Additionally, the increasing number of work-from-home employees will contribute to this growth. Finally, the average user and buyer will have a significantly higher insight and interest in ergonomics, especially when it comes to how these products can keep them and others safe, well-functioning and with a much higher degree of office wellness.

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Prolific News
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